What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
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Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
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Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
The Social Security Disability Decision and Your Ability to Work
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
If you’re thinking about applying for social security disability (SSD) benefits, you’re probably wondering if you meet the requirements to receive disability income, and just how social security determines who is truly disabled and will be approved for social security disability benefits, and who is still capable of working, and thus will be denied.
To be eligible for social security disability benefits, a claimant must be both unable to perform any jobs held in the past 15 years, and unable to perform any other job based on claimant’s age, education and limitations, due to the stated medical condition.
After an application for disability is filed, it is sent to the state agency in charge of making disability determinations for social security. Some common names for this agency are the bureau for disability determination services, disability determination division/services, etc., depending upon the state.
A social security examiner will then be assigned, and will determine if the claimant is capable of working after evaluating the medical records. Medical records are evaluated to see to how a claimant’s condition limits him or her, physically and/or mentally, and to what extent this limitation affects the claimant’s ability to work. The examiner will then generate a residual functional capacity form (RFC) detailing the examiner’s residual functional capacity assessment, including what activities a claimant is still able to perform; i.e., what work he or she could do despite the existing medical condition.
An RFC is valid only after it is signed by a medical doctor (M.D.) or psychologist (Ph.D.) who is assigned to the disability examiner’s unit. Separate RFCs are generated for physical and mental limitations, although a claimant may have both physical and mental RFCs, depending on their condition.
In short, the disability medical examiner uses medical records to determine residual functional capacity (a claimant’s ability to work), and then writes an assessment, which must be signed by a doctor (or psychologist, if applicable). Based on the RFC assessment, it is determined if a person has the capacity to work, and if the claimant will be denied or awarded disability benefits.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Questions, Answers, Tips, and Advice page
Individual Questions and Answers
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials